Not that we’re depending on mainstream magazines to validate or show love to natural hair and chocolate-complexioned models, but W Magazine did a great job including an all-black model ensemble for a photo spread in its August 2015 edition.
Six models—Ajak Deng, Amilna Estevao, Anais Mali, Aya Jones, Binx Walton and Tami Williams—appear in a variety of fashion spreads. Their clothes are rich and patterned, and they’re all rocking a natural hairstyle. Apparently, black is the new black. Check out the photos below:
Work it, ladies.
original article by Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele via theroot.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson
When New York Fashion Week kicks off on Thursday, many commentators will be watching the runways closely — not just to see which collections will be most coveted come fall, but also to see whether designers have heeded the call to showcase more black models.
That call for action was sent out in September, at the start of the previous NYFW, by Bethann Hardison, a prominent fashion activist and former model. On behalf of the Diversity Coalition, a group of like-minded advocates and industry members, Hardison wrote a letter to the governing bodies of Fashion Weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan, asking why “fashion design houses consistently use … one or no models of color,” and accusing specific designers of racism on the runway.
“Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society,” the letter read in part. “No matter the intention, the result is racism.”
Hardison and the Diversity Coalition sent out another email to the governing bodies of the world’s Fashion Weeks Tuesday, detailing the progress — and lack thereof — seen on the runway this past season.
The letter reads:
Last season we addressed the international fashion industry for their lack of conduct in being racially diverse. There was a marked improvement on the runways and a positive response to the letters received by the major fashion councils and the designer brands they count as members. First we will share the results.It is important to say that there are design houses serviced by casting directors and stylists who are latent, as they seem comfortable with stereotypical images.
Although progress was made last season within certain houses, the objective is to continue this improvement across the entire industry. We look for consistency and not because of advocacy or a season lending to darker skin.
So we will continue to watch and reveal season to season.
Diversifying is not difficult. The resistance to do so is intriguing.
Hardison and the Coalition provide a tally of models of color employed during the September 2013 shows by several designers, all of which had previously cast one or no non-Caucasian models during the February 2013 shows. Overall, as Jezebel noted at the time, there was an uptick, with some design houses adding as many as four or five models of color.
Here is a breakdown of New York Fashion Week’s numbers in the letter:
Shimmering lingerie and dazzling faux-wings marked the official broadcast of the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Tuesday night – and while some of the show’s famous stars returned to the catwalk, several women of color made their debut. Supermodels Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Doutzen Kroes were only a few of the veterans who strutted down the aisle again. But it seems as though this year’s show included more diversity than ever before.
Joining Joan Smalls and Jasmine Tookes on the runway (who also participated in last year’s presentation) were at least four other women of different ethnicities who were dressed in some of the lingerie brand’s finest pieces. There is Malika Firth, a Kenyan-born biracial 19-year-old who was cast as the first black model to be the face of Prada’s since 1994 – a large feat, especially considering that supermodel Naomi Campbell was the last black woman at the helm of the designer brand.
Cindy Bruna, who is from the South of France but was born to a Congolese mother and an Italian father, joined the beauties on the runway. Then there was Maria Borges, a 5’11 Angolan model who won the 2011 Ford Supermodel Angola title. Brazilian model Lais Roberio and Ming Xi, one of the most-sought after Asian models, also joined the sizzling-hot lineup.
ATLANTA, Ga. — The founder of one of America’s first modeling agencies to represent women of color has placed her papers at Emory University.
Pioneering entrepreneur Ophelia DeVore Mitchell set up the New-York-based Grace Del Marco in 1946 at a time when it was almost unthinkable for black women to be recognized in the media for their beauty.
In its early days, the groundbreaking agency paved the way for African-Americans to pursue careers in the fashion and entertainment industries.
Agency launched black superstars
Indeed, the agency and modeling school helped launch the early careers of actresses Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson.
It also represented people such as Gail Fisher; Richard Roundtree; Trudy Haynes, one of the first black female TV reporters; and Helen Williams, one of the first African-American fashion models to break into the mainstream.
DeVore’s extensive collection consists of thousands of items, from photos to scrapbooks relating to her time at the helm of the agency, to lengthy correspondence from her other business ventures.
In an interview with theGrio, DeVore, who is surprisingly lucid for her 92 years, says when she co-founded Grace Del Marco, “people of color didn’t even count in the beauty industry, not just in America, but across the world.”
Her drive, she says, came from her own personal experiences working briefly as a model, mainly for Ebony Magazine, from the age of 16.
Though DeVore is of mixed-race origin, the South-Carolina-born beauty became acutely aware of how black people were depicted in the media and subsequently made it her mission to change these images.
Two years later, in 1948, Devore established the Ophelia DeVore School of Charm, where young black women learned etiquette, poise and posture, speech and ballet, and self-presentation.
The archives, which span from the 1940s to 1990s, document the changing attitudes and images of non-whites in the beauty industry, says DeVore’s son, James D. Carter, who took over the charm school for a number of years and later ran other aspects of the Devore businesses.